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Effort Underway To Suspend California’s Global Warming Law

Republican politicians and conservative activists are launching a ballot campaign to suspend California’s landmark global-warming law, in what they hope will serve as a showcase for a national backlash against climate regulations.

Supporters say they have “solid commitments” of nearly $600,000 to pay signature gatherers for a November initiative aimed at delaying curbs on the greenhouse gas emissions of power plants and factories until the state’s unemployment rate drops.

GOP gubernatorial candidates and Tea Party organizers paint the 2006 law, considered a model for other state and federal efforts, as a job-killing interference in the economy. Talk radio is flailing at what John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou, drive-time hosts on Los Angeles’ KFI-AM (640), call “the global-warming final solution act” promoted by “fascist, Nazi” officials.

“We are on fire,” said Assemblyman Dan Logue (R-Marysville), a sponsor of the proposed initiative. “People are calling from all over the country. This will be the most intense campaign the state has seen in 50 years.”

Mary D. Nichols, chairwoman of the state’s Air Resources Board, which is implementing the law, known as AB 32, called the initiative “a campaign that has to be taken seriously.”

“It would put all our efforts at energy efficiency and renewable energy in the deep freezer for a long time,” she said.

The measure would halt proposed regulations until the state’s jobless rate dips to 5.5% or below for a year. That’s a level that California has not seen since 2007. California has one of the nation’s highest unemployment rates: 12.4%.

The effort to ignite a revolt in the Golden State comes as years of industry-backed campaigns have sown doubts about the scientific consensus behind global warming and as the public has become more concerned about the economy..

A survey by the Pew Research Center found that 28% of the public considers global warming a high priority, a drop of 10 points from 2007. The economy and jobs topped the agenda. Federal climate legislation, after passing the House last year, is stalled in the Senate.

No major California company has endorsed the initiative yet. But Gino DiCaro, a spokesman for the California Manufacturers and Technology Assn. said last month: “The state’s greenhouse reduction program is not a freebie. Large costs foisted on an unemployment-riddled state economy and increased electricity rates . . . are not affordable at this time, if ever.”

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